Typically, a bulldog will have anywhere from one to twelve puppies at a time, although the average number is between four and seven. After the mother gives birth, she will do most of the work involved in rearing the newborn puppies, but this does not mean that she does not need additional assistance. Rearing newborn puppies properly will ensure that the pups grow up into healthy, happy dogs.
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Things you need
- Cardboard box
- Several blankets
- Heating pad or heat lamp
- Puppy formula
- Small baby bottle
- Sterile cotton
- Rice cereal
- Shallow bowl
- Wet puppy food
Provide a warm, safe environment for the mother and her newborn puppies. A large cardboard box will give the mother an area in which to feed and bathe her puppies, and to leave when she wants to. Place several blankets in the box and change them often as the puppies will eliminate waste several times a day.
Place a heating pad or heat lamp near or inside of the box. Newborn puppies must maintain a constant body temperature and should be provided an environment that is kept anywhere between 28.3 to 30 degrees Celsius. Keep a thermometer inside of the box and adjust the lamp or heating pad accordingly to maintain this temperature. Do not allow the puppies to be in an environment that is hotter than 90 degrees as this can lead to heat stroke in this sensitive breed.
Watch the mother to ensure she is producing enough milk for the entire litter. The day after the puppies are born, the mother will start to produce her milk in thick liquid called colostrum. After this, her normal milk will come in. If the mother is not producing milk, supplement the puppies' diet with formula, which can be purchased at pet food stores and given to the puppies per instructions on the formula container. The time between feedings can be extended from every two to every three to four hours after the pups reach two weeks of age.
Clean the puppies after each feeding if the mother is unable to do so. The puppies must urinate after each feeding, and the mother will clean them to stimulate defecation and urination. The puppies' lower bodies should be washed with a piece of sterile cotton, wet with water, until the mother begins to clean the puppies on her own. The puppies' noses and faces should also be closely monitored and washed if any debris finds its way near their noses. Bulldogs are brachiocephalic, which means the breed has a short nose that can easily become clogged and lead to breathing problems.
Feed the puppies a mush of warmed rice cereal and puppy formula in a shallow bowl at approximately four weeks. A small amount of warmed, ground up wet puppy food can be added to the formula if the puppies are tolerating the rice cereal well when they reach five weeks of age. Make sure that the food is warmed as bulldog puppies are sensitive to cold.
Bring the puppies to the veterinarian at approximately four weeks of age for a check-up and to have them dewormed. Two weeks later, at six weeks of age, the puppies should be brought in again to receive another deworming and their first round of shots. The puppies are ready at eight weeks of age to be sold or given away.
Tips and warnings
- Contact a veterinarian immediately if any puppy seems lethargic, is having trouble breathing, has watery mucous or appears dehydrated. These are signs the puppy may have contracted an illness, such as pneumonia or enteritis, both of which are life threatening.
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